You need your customers to be honest in their business dealings with you. Your company’s financial health and long-term viability rely on honesty in your transactions.
Mark Twain commented on honesty:
Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.
Money is a powerful force that can affect people’s behavior for good or bad. So how can your company encourage honesty?
Honesty Shouldn’t Be Hard
This past week as I was reviewing our bank statement, I noticed that there was a $600 deposit last month that we didn’t make. The statement didn’t give any details of the source of this amount.
I called the bank to inquire about this mystery deposit. After about 15 minutes on the phone the agent couldn’t help me resolve my issue but told me to talk to the check fraud department.
When I immediately called the fraud department I navigated through the phone tree just to find out they weren’t open yet.
Later that day, I called the fraud department and again waited on hold for quite some time before being helped. I reviewed the details of the deposit again and was told they would investigate it and get back to me.
That afternoon, the fraud department returned my call and told me that the deposit was a clerical error. I asked if the proper owner of the deposit had inquired about the money. They hadn’t.
It shouldn’t take more than an hour making multiple phone calls to correct someone else’s problem.
The majority of people want to do the right thing. Make it easy for them to do it! I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get a clerical error fixed that was in my favor to begin with.
If the process for getting something done right is too complicated and time consuming, even the most honest of us will just give up trying.
Honesty should be the foundation of your interactions with customers. However, sometimes customers do something like give back extra change, or tell you that you undercharged them, that not everyone does. In these cases, you should recognize that the customer did something out of the ordinary.
During my phone calls with my bank, I had to ask if other people reported extra deposits to their accounts. They told me “not usually.” Since this was such an odd occurrence I was surprised to be treated like just another caller.
Thank your customers when you catch them being extraordinarily honest. Tell them that you understand it took some extra time and effort to do the right thing and that both you as the company and any other customers affected are grateful for their honesty.